Holistic Healing With Essential Oils
Femina|April 9, 2019

Go ahead and assemble your own natural first-aid kit with a little help from pure essential oils, says Chirag Mohanty Samal

Chirag Mohanty Samal

A few years ago, Mansi Dehlvi, a marketing professional, fell sick. She couldn’t pin-point what was wrong, but she lacked the energy to do anything, woke up with a foggy mind, and ran a low fever for three months. Her doctors couldn’t make a diagnosis, but considering she had broken up with her partner some months before complaining of illness, most physicians suggested anti-depressants. Dehlvi insisted she wasn’t depressed, and all they could recommend instead was rest and meditation.

Disillusioned, she began exploring other options. She met healers and tried different therapies until she met Pooja Dang through a common friend. Dang is a certified aromatherapist. She specialised in the study of essential oils and was the spa manager at a leading five-star property. It was Dang who introduced Dehlvi to the healing properties of these fragrant potions. Today, Dehlvi rubs peppermint oil on her temple every time she gets a headache and adds a few drops of lavender oil in her bathtub when she needs to unwind after a tiring day. On days she has to give a presentation or meet an important client, she uses nutmeg oil to sharpen her focus. Dehlvi’s vials of essential oils are always stocked up at home.

For the uninitiated, essential oils are not technically oils as they lack fatty acids; they’re highly concentrated plant components. Shahnaz Hussain, veteran beauty expert and CEO of Shahnaz Herbals, says, “Like herbal therapy, aromatherapy is a branch of natural healing, but there is a difference. The first involves the use of the entire herb, while in aromatherapy, only its essential oils are used. The curative action of the herb is different from that of its essential oil, which is anyway more like water than oil. These ‘oils’ are complex in nature and constitute the volatile and aromatic part of the plant.”

Plants produce only a minute portion of essential oils, so these tend to be far more expensive than the botanicals they are extracted from. In the western world, essential oils such as bergamont, lemon, ginger, clove, orange and cardamom have been long used to add flavour to food and drinks, but the concept of selling them in vials as potions that trigger healing is a newer one. In India, however, essential oils have been used as a part of ayurveda, says Hussain. “Ancient Indian texts contain records of essential oils, their medicinal usage and even their cosmetic benefits.”

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